While bourbon makes for a perfect sipper on its own, the natural notes of oak and vanilla also lend themselves perfectly to a whole host of cocktail recipes. In fact, bourbon has been the basis of some of the oldest cocktails in American history, and has played an incredible part in shaping the drinking culture as we know it today!
Fans of the negroni will find a lot to like about the Boulevardier. It’s essentially the same cocktail but with the substitution of gin for bourbon, which adds an extra bit of spice and sweetness to the classic negroni. It’s simple, but elegant.
- 1.5 oz bourbon
- 1 oz sweet vermouth
- 1 oz campari
Method: Combine all ingredients into a mixing glass with ice and stir well. Strain into a chilled rocks glass over fresh ice. Garnish with an orange twist and enjoy.
A whiskey sour has every element a good cocktail should have: a brightness from the fresh lemon, a strong warmth from the bourbon, and a hint of sweetness from the simple syrup. Getting this cocktail right is all about the proportions, and ensuring you’re using fresh lemon juice.
- 2 oz bourbon
- 0.75 oz fresh lemon juice
- 0.75 oz simple syrup
- orange slice
Method: Combine bourbon, lemon juice, and simple syrup into a cocktail shaker. Fill the shaker with ice and shake vigorously for about 20 seconds. Strain cocktail into an old-fashioned or rocks glass filled with ice. Garnish with orange wheel and cherry.
The Manhattan is another cocktail that the true origin has been lost to memory. Some claim it stems from the New York bar scene of the 1860s, while there’s a far more interesting tale that takes place in 1874 when Jennie Churchill threw a party at the Manhattan Club to celebrate Samuel J. Tilden’s victory in New York’s gubernatorial election. A bartender at the event allegedly created the drink, and Churchill soon gave birth to a son, Winston, while Tilden made a presidential run in 1876.
- 3 oz bourbon
- 1 oz sweet vermouth
- 3 dashes of Angostura bitters
Method: Mix whiskey, vermouth, and bitters in a cocktail shaker with ice; stir to chill. Strain into a chilled martini glass, or alternatively a rocks glass with an over-sized ice cube; garnish with a cherry.
One of the oldest cocktails in existence, the Julep is a quintessential bourbon cocktail and has inspired many variations. Juleps also happen to be the official drink of the Kentucky Derby, and have been for nearly a century.
- 2.5 oz bourbon
- 0.75 simple syrup
- 14 sprigs of mint
Method: Add the mint leaves to a julep cup, collins glass, or double old-fashioned glass. Muddle mint in glass. Pour the simple syrup and bourbon into the glass and stir to combine. Top glass with crushed ice. Garnish with another mint sprig.
Born during the 1930’s in New Orleans, the Vieux Carré means “old square” in French and refers to what we know call the city’s French Quarter neighbourhood. This cocktail takes international inspirations and combines them into a glass that is boozy, sweet, bitter and smooth.
- 0.75 oz bourbon
- 0.75 oz cognac
- 0.75 oz sweet vermouth
- 0.3 oz Bénédictine
- 2 dashes of Peychaud’s bitters
- 1 dash Angostura bitters
Method: Combine all ingredients into a mixing glass and fill with ice. Stir well for 20-30 seconds and strain into an ice-filled Old Fashioned glass. Garnish with a cherry.